Back when it was first invented in the 1960s, pickleball didn’t have too many players. In the years since, though, pickleball has become one of the most popular recreational sports in the entire world. In fact, pickleball was named the fastest growing sport in each of the past two years with nearly 5 million players worldwide. It’s easy to see why pickleball is becoming so popular, and with that popularity comes more pickleball tournaments for people to take part in.
Though most of the largest pickleball tournaments in the world are located here in the United States where the sport was born, there are still some major competitions that take place overseas. If you want to take a road trip throughout the USA to see the best pickleball players converge to compete for top prizes and exposure, there are some tournaments that you must see.
Here are the 10 biggest pickleball tournaments in the world, including when they take place and where you can find them each year.
1. Minto US Open Pickleball Championships
Sponsored by the Jimmy Buffett-led brand Margaritaville, the Minto US Open Pickleball Championships are held each April in Naples, Florida. Dubbed as “The Biggest Pickleball Party in the World”, the US Open has plenty of prize money available to its competitors with a guaranteed $100,000 purse. The top earners come from the doubles competition, with teams taking home $10,000 for the grand prize, and even coming in fourth place will still net you a cool $1,000. The US Open was also named by Racquet Sports Industry as the Tournament of the Year in 2022.
2. World Pickleball Championship
Staying in Florida, the World Pickleball Championships are held each year in the Sunshine State, with the 2022 edition taking place in mid September in Punta Gorda. Anyone can register to play and there are a couple of options to pick from. You can register for the single elimination singles tournament or the round robin doubles tourney. All levels of experience are welcomed, and age groups range from 19 and up to 60 and up.
3. APP Las Vegas Metro Open
Las Vegas is one of those cities that’s perfect for hosting big events, and pickleball is no exception. Every October, hundreds of pickleball fanatics make their way to Sin City to try their hand at the APP Las Vegas Metro Open. Located just a couple of blocks away from Wayne Newton’s famed Las Vegas residence (Shenandoah), the LV Metro Open only costs $70 to take part in and offers a good amount of exposure and potential prize money. There are also plenty of skill and age ranges for everyone to be included.
4. PPA Masters
Not many of the biggest pickleball tournaments are broadcast on television, but the PPA Masters is shown on Fox Sports each year. The Masters takes place every November, with a payout that eclipses $112,000. The most recent tournament took place in Palm Springs, California, and the winners of each tournament can expect to get over $3,500. Even just making it to the round of 16 can earn you $175, making it one of the biggest targets for the world’s best pickleball players. If you want to watch as a fan, the cost is only around $25 to take in the sights and sounds.
5. APP English Open
Heading outside of the United States, the APP English Open is the largest tournament in Europe, boasting a five day long tournament that begins with the 60+ and 70+ men’s and women’s doubles and then concludes with 19+ and 50+ mixed doubles in the last weekend of June and into July. Located in Southampton, the APP English Open costs around $55 USD to enter and has several professional players that take part in the event. This includes Lee Whitwell, DJ Young, Michelle Esquivel and many more. If you want to see the top tier tournament, make your way to the David Lloyd Tennis Center.
6. The Franklin NYC Open
In terms of the total prize purse, no other pickleball tournament pays out as much as the APP Franklin NYC Open in Flushing Meadows, New York. Located at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (the same site as tennis’s US Open), the NYC Open has a prize pool of $125,000. The tournament has a registration fee of $150 and is open to all players at least eight years of age or older. Registration for this prestigious event takes place in February of each year with the tournament taking place on Memorial Day weekend each May. The big winners from the most recent tournament were Zan Navratil and Parris Todd who took home the gold for the pro singles tournaments.
7. Tournament of Champions
We now head back west to find the John A. Gullo Tournament of Champions located in Brigham City, Utah. This outdoor tournament is a little less costly for the competitors with a registration fee of $40. The tournament takes place each August at the Bingham City Pickleball Courts, and is broadcast live on the internet. Matt Wright and Riley Newman teamed up to take the doubles pro crown in the 2022 edition of the tournament while Anna Leigh Waters and Leigh Waters were the top women’s players. Those that are looking for a big payout can register for a higher fee to test their skills against some of the top ranked players in the world.
8. USA Pickleball National Championships
Returning to Florida, the USA Pickleball National Championships are held each November at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Sponsored by some major corporations, the Nationals take place over the course of more than a week to determine the top players in the United States. Tickets are available to the public at $15, and just about every age group and category is covered in this event. The first time that this tournament was held was in 2009 and had less than 400 competitors, but has since ballooned to be the ultimate weekend for pickleball enthusiasts. Attendees of the tournament are treated to a lot of action going on at one time, so you’ll never be bored sitting in the stands with some legendary performances taking place in front of you.
9. PPA Championship
If you want to see some high stakes action where competitors are playing for big money, look no further than the PPA Championships. With a $150,000 prize purse, the PPAs give out $10,000 to the doubles winners and $3,000 to the singles winners. The event takes place in Las Vegas each October with a registration cost of $75. This event is held at the Darling Tennis Center and features some of the biggest names in the sport including Matt Wright, Ben Johns, Simone Jardim and more. Johns is perhaps the most famous of all pickleball players, and he said that “Pickleball is an unsolved sport. Everyone is adding new shots and strategies all the time – meaning that nobody really knows the ‘correct’ things to do.” Those that compete well at the PPA Championships are automatically qualified for the Major Grand Slams of pickleball, meaning that it’s about more than just the money at this tournament.
10. APP Hilton Head Open
If you want to get into the USA Pickleball National Championships, one of the best ways to do so is by qualifying through the APP HIlton Head Open. This event that costs $85 to participate in takes place in South Carolina every October, with registration opening up to the public in July. The total prize purse for the event is $60,000, and requires you to be at least 10 years of age to play. This tournament is certainly senior focused, with age groups going as high as 65 and up, though people of any age and skill level are definitely welcomed. Hilton Head offers plenty of hotels to pick from, so viewers and participants will have a good place to stay.
There are plenty of pickleball tournaments to pick from whether you plan on participating or if you just want to watch some of the best players in the world go at it. See how many of these you can check off of your bucket list. Most of the largest tournaments are in the United States, so a lot of the fans won’t have to travel too far, but you will get to see some of the best resort towns in the country if you go on a pickleball tour of the largest tournaments.